Among the vaccinated and cautious, there is a sense of impending, dark inevitability that the winter may bring a breakthrough case of COVID-19.
It may be anxiety-inducing (or in my case, sleep-reducing) to see the storm on the horizon, but there are things you can do to weatherproof your house. We will need an umbrella and a raincoat when the downpour hits.
Early in the pandemic, pragmatists prepped their homes for lockdowns.
Today it might be pragmatic to prep your home for sickness and quarantine. With a super contagious variant it will be imperative to tend to an illness without leaving your home and infecting others.
It’s wise to get physically and mentally ready on a personal level. With the uncertainty of what’s to come, being productively prepared can be helpful to give us a sense of control over the anxiety.
Get your booster and your flu shot if you haven’t already.
Getting boosted today could help fight omicron tomorrow, and a flu shot will help reduce the risk of co-infection.
Make a plan for how and where you’ll get tested if you have symptoms or an exposure.
It’s wise to know ahead of time where the closest testing center is, its hours, and whether you need an appointment. You’ll want fast results, so it may be best to know where to get a rapid PCR test. It may also be wise to have on hand a stock of rapid at-home tests.
Step up your mask game.
The best mask is one that fits well. If you’re using cloth masks, make sure they’re new and closely woven and not worn from washing. It’s even better to use a surgical mask, N95, or KN95.
Determine who will be your main source of medical care if you get sick.
If you don’t already have a primary care provider, it would be great to find one. Telehealth may be a great option with a primary care provider. Without one, the best thing for you personally to do is to spend some time on your public health department’s website and the nearest public hospital’s website to find additional resources and information about free or low-cost telehealth options.
Have a plan for how you’ll isolate if you test positive.
It’s important to take isolation seriously. Per current CDC recommendations, you’ll need to prepare for being at home 10 days, without leaving except to get medical care.
Can you confine yourself to one room, or one floor, to mitigate the spread to family or housemates? Will you need child care if you have to isolate? Are there drug stores or grocery stores that deliver?
Stock up on essentials.
You’ll want to have a variety of cold and cough medicines, pain relievers and fever reducers (like acetaminophen and ibuprofen), cough drops, a thermometer, and a few boxes of tissues.
Consider bulking up your pantry with staple foods you like when you’re sick — popsicles, instant ramen, soups, crackers, and maybe some easy freezer meals.
A big water bottle with a straw will help you to keep hydrated, and a bedside or couchside trash receptacle for dirty tissues and lots of wrapped cold meds.
Prepare mentally for how much rest you’ll need if you’re sick.
If you’ve been healthy your whole life, it can be difficult to comprehend how physically wiped you might feel after doing your typical version of “doing nothing.”
Resign yourself to needing a lot of time for rest and being inactive. It’s important to take the time for healing.
Pick up the phone if/when the health department calls you.
Know ahead of time that unknown numbers may be the health department trying to contact trace or check on your symptoms, answer questions, or provide you with important information. Your local health department may be overwhelmed and unable to contact trace, but it’s important to give that information if they call.
Be ready to feel a wave of emotions.
It’s reasonable to feel overwhelmed and upset by a positive diagnosis, and normal to feel a sense of shame or guilt.
“No one wants to experience illness of any kind, whether we’re talking about Covid-19 or any type of a virus — no one wants to get sick. That’s not a condition that anybody wants to experience, especially when you talk about a variant that we’re still learning more about.”
Sourcing from Vox